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such a lonely word

Post #607 • August 22, 2005, 12:33 PM • 75 Comments

Cinque Hicks:

Honesty? I mean, if you ever stifle an impulse toward beauty or ugliness, clumsiness or elegance, openness or obscurity, then you are not honest. If you want to be funny but keep a straight face instead, if you want to be serious but laugh it off, then you are not honest. If you are making work and the thought in your head is, "this will totally wow 'em," or "so-and-so will think this is so cool," then you are not honest. If you are making work and simultaneously composing the paragraph about yourself that you imagine will appear in all the art history books or in the newspaper or in the press release, you are not honest. If you look at your own work and say, "shit, that looks too much like artist X; let me change it," or, "dammit, I have to make it look more like artist Y," then you are not honest. If you pursue something only because it's sure to gain the respect of your peers, your teacher, a curator, a gallerist, your father, or your girlfriend, you are not honest. If you do something only because it is sure to piss off anyone from that same list, you are not honest. If you neglect your desire to do X because everybody has come to expect Y from you, then you are not honest. And if you're an artist and claim never to have had one of these moments, then you are really not honest.

Yep.

Comment

1.

jordan

August 22, 2005, 1:39 PM

I guess that dishonest Artists would include:
Picasso, Mondrian (who water-colored flowers to sell), Picabia, Giacometti (who was initially a DADA/surealist), Gorky, and Schnabel; the list goes on.

2.

oldpro

August 22, 2005, 1:53 PM

I like Cinque. That is a nicely written paragraph.

You are right, Jordan. We are all dishonest. It is a matter of character and a matter of degree.

And if the art is good it doesn't matter anyway.

3.

Matty

August 22, 2005, 2:05 PM

Is Honesty the same as Sincerity?

Honesty is great, if we're talking morality... if we're talking aesthetics, then it's irrelevant.
If I am an honestly bad painter, then I may deserve to get into heaven... but not the MOMA's permanent collection.

4.

Franklin

August 22, 2005, 2:18 PM

Cinque makes a case for honesty versus cleverness and slickness. In theory these impulses don't mutually exclude each other, but in practice they often seem to.

5.

oldpro

August 22, 2005, 3:31 PM

"Art is a lie", sayeth Pablo.

One can easily substitute the term "chickenshit" for "not honest" in Cinque's statement.

6.

Elizabeth

August 22, 2005, 3:45 PM

OP; isnt 'chickenshit' more about being scared?? and if an artist is scared, then he/she is in the wrong profession!!

7.

jordan

August 22, 2005, 4:53 PM

Surely, 'cleverness' and 'slick' reflect quite different issues. I like cleverness in Art, honestly.

8.

just passing by

August 22, 2005, 5:05 PM

IBasically, Cinque points out that if you think too much about creating art to conform with a certain image than this is dishonest. This holds true for many aspects of life: clothing, way of speaking, etc. I think we often call this way of being "pretentious." Cinque says nothing about good and bad art; any conclusion about quality comes from our subjective feelings about honesty.

9.

oldpro

August 22, 2005, 5:18 PM

Elizabeth, I was just noting that what he says seems to work either way. Dishonesty, in my experience, is usually a matter of being scared somehow.

justpassing, I don't think Cinque is encompassing anything further than honesty in his statement. What hinesty has to do with good art is a complicated subject. That's why I quoted Picasso.

10.

Elizabeth

August 22, 2005, 5:57 PM

OldPro; yes exactly, I feel it comes back to that also. Were all the great ones courageous, fearless. Did that fearlessness allow them to create freely and honestly??

11.

oldpro

August 22, 2005, 6:06 PM

I don't think they were fearless, they just had something else that was more important, and maybe the fear of not doing that was greater.

Cezanne, recently discussed, was full of doubt and anxiety, which amounts to fear, I suppose. Some people are just driven to do it right.

12.

jordan

August 22, 2005, 6:14 PM

Picabia was a great coward then, so was Magritte and Guston at that.
Damn, if we all would just obey the same art doctrines everything would be nice -would'nt it ?

13.

Elizabeth

August 22, 2005, 6:18 PM

OP; so its the elusive 'something else' and the need or drive combo. When I think of the great ones, I get a strong impression that they were never satisfied, always hungry. As with Cezanne saying to himself if he done all he could.

14.

oldpro

August 22, 2005, 6:24 PM

Well, a little talent and luck help.

Jordan, Nothing is being put forth here as doctrine.

15.

Elizabeth

August 22, 2005, 6:25 PM

if he had done all he could. / Sorry typos.

16.

Elizabeth

August 22, 2005, 6:35 PM

I think Matty and Ahab are fearless.....

17.

oldpro

August 22, 2005, 8:23 PM

But Ahab knows only obsession. That damned whale...

18.

alesh

August 22, 2005, 9:39 PM

If I was writing a paper for a high-school english class, i might say that there are two very distinct ways to interpert Hicks' paragraph. Both of them hinge on the last line. In a straight reading, the last line turns everything that preceeds it on its head; essentially it says that it is impossible to be honest. If you do any any of these things you are dishonest, if you do not you are a liar . . .

Of course there is a s3cond way to read her; that all of us have these moments of, for want of a better word, "weakness," Consideration of our audience informs our work to some degree, etc . . . to claim otherwise would be the ultimate dishonesty.

We have, then, Oldpro's statement that "if the art is good, then none of it matters" (I may be paraphrasing, but he's repeated similar things often).

We have, also, Michelangelo, Mozart, and dozens of other examples of folks who could shit out tremendous art while operating under extremely selfish, Unhicksian motives (ie they were making work for money under a specific commission).

All of which is to lead up to a question - are we at a point where we can safely dismiss the artist's motive, forever and in every case? Can we judge the art, and not make inferences or judgements regarding his/her motives? Can that apply to Rocket Project artists? . . . i mean seriously, taking each and every piece (or artist) on its own merits, perceptions and perceived motivations be damned?

agh! I'm ranting drunkenly. forgive me . . .

19.

George

August 22, 2005, 9:52 PM

Off the present topic. (honest)
I sent John Germain instructions on color correcting his digital file.
He suggested I share this with anyone else interested.
So go here for a page detailing the basic proceedure and a sample illustration.

20.

Matty

August 22, 2005, 9:58 PM

Keep drinking Alesh... I think its working... plus, you don't seem to suffer from drunken typos like I tend to.

I was hoping that someone might touch on the idea of motive being irrelevant... worrying about whether or not the artist is being honest (as distinct from whether the art is good) is a classic case of the Intentional Fallacy... whether I make work to please me, or to please the patron (or, for that matter, making work I think might please the patron, which I may be wrong about) doesn't relate to the quality of the work.

But, as has been pointed out previously, talk of "honesty" relates not to aesthetics, but to morality. And to that, I'm sure we can all agree that we should be honest, moral people (whether we're artists or not).

21.

George

August 22, 2005, 10:06 PM

Honestly, this whole argument is utter bullshit.
Worse than that it is trivial beyond belief, provides no resolution or means of analysis other than to acknowledge that we all ocassionally consider our actions in a greater context than our pitifull egos. Enough.

There, I said it and I feel better.

Honest weight, no springs

22.

oldpro

August 22, 2005, 10:10 PM

George, thanks for the tips. I am a lousy photographer of my own paintings and this may help.

Alesh, I understand your problem and it does not seem like drunken ranting. Of course we can guess at the artist's motives, and consider them and not "dismiss" them, if we so choose. This can be interesting, but it will always be futile without an absolutely clear cause and effect, and even then the actual quality of the art can and will operate separately from the conditions of its creation.

Even if the conditions of creation are manifest in the work, and even if those characteristics can be believebly linked to the character of the work, they are subject to an entirely different species of evaluation. Moral judgement is moral; it applies to people. Esthetic judgement is amoral; it applies to things.

23.

oldpro

August 22, 2005, 10:12 PM

Matty, i think we almost did it again with simultaneous posts.

24.

alesh

August 22, 2005, 10:24 PM

o/p~

great! but of course we do not just apply esthetic judgement to art . . . what about the case of a creative serial killer (like in the movie Seven . . .).

I'm prepared to say we judge the person's actions morally as horrible, but esthetically, well, that's a totally different story?

Does your way of reasoning pave the way for a positive review of the work of a serial killer? Or does the immorality of the act outweigh any esthetic value it may have?

25.

George

August 22, 2005, 10:25 PM

Alesh, watch out, I'm passing bye on the shoulder ;-)

Yawn, where does this matter in the practice?

In the process of working, it is the process that matters, not whether you are honest or not. The process is a self correcting movement, it defines a path. If one is not honest, in the sense described above, then the path alters. So? If one denies all impulses, attempts complete dishonesty, So? You just define a new path, different but with its own set of qualities. If you are totally dissassociated, schizophrenic, does honesty mean anything?

The question is not honesty, or its shades, nuances of truth achieving accord within their context, it is about the centering, the reflexive self correction which attempts to find the accord within the context.

or not.

26.

alesh

August 22, 2005, 10:31 PM

yikes! i'm not the only one drinking tonight.

i distill george to say: if you're not "honest", in Hicks' sense, you may be successful in the short run but not the long run.

That is a conclusion that I find uninteresting, and not a challenge to the commonly held assumptions of this here blog.

27.

Franklin

August 22, 2005, 10:38 PM

The following paragraph leads into the one above:

Still, looking around the gallery, I couldn't help but notice the frequent tendency toward cleverness and slickness. That plague shows no sign of abating, that we as artists want to be so fucking clever all the time, and that that should substitute for being honest. Honesty is hard--I rarely get to it myself--but the effort, God, why else do this?

Parse the meaning of honesty or the distinctions between artistic and moral honesty if you want to, but Cinque is laying out a set of encouragements to strive for artistic integrity that hold up well enough for studio use. We're not talking about philosophical watertightness here. Cinque has a fine and refreshing attitude. Your mileage may vary.

28.

Matty

August 22, 2005, 10:41 PM

Hey Alesh, pass me a glass of that distilled George... I don't think my stomach can handle the undistilled variety.

As Greenberg would say, life-as-lived trumps art.

But, take this hypothetical:
Suppose someone one day uncovers evidence that Matisse was a serial killer (sorry Henri). I can then (and should then) be appaled by his behaviour. But, to say that I don't appreciate his 'le serf' would be dishonest. His life may (in this hypothetical) be considered a horror, but his sculpture remains separate, and beautiful.

29.

Matty

August 22, 2005, 10:47 PM

Franklin, it seems like Hicks is lamenting the quality of the work, and confusing that with an idea about its honesty. Maybe some of the artists are honestly clever, or honestly slick. M.C. Escher was clever and slick, I'm sure he came by both honestly.

30.

George

August 22, 2005, 10:48 PM

beep! beep! you may be successful in the short run but not the long run.

That's not what I mean at all. I question the question. The statements are trivial, they boil down to this.

If you have an impulse and don't act on it, then you are dishonest.

As stated this is false. As are his other arguments.

Honesty implies that one is able to discern the truth and acts accordingly. If you cannot determine the truth but act anyway, you are making an arbitrary choice, one which has no quality like honesty. You might be right, you might be wrong but either case is not a result of acting "honestly"

Consider hypothetical honesty, things which we believe should be true allowing an honest action, but which in fact are subjective and subject to argument from both sides. The world abounds in such conundrums where both sides believe they are acting honestly.

Maybe it only matters if you believe you are acting honestly. Ah ha, the lightbulbs go off, another philosopher falls victum to guilt.

31.

George

August 22, 2005, 10:57 PM

.. a set of encouragements to strive for artistic integrity that hold up well enough for studio use. We're not talking about philosophical watertightness here...

Ah ha, to thine own self be true. None of this matters. Ultimately it is about will and the ability to impose ones will on the work to such a degree that it cannot be denied. You don't stand around and ask yourself reflexivly if you are being honest. What the heck does that mean. If I do something today because I might get xxxx, then decide better tomorrow, so what. The combined knowledge of acting dishonestly, in the context of this discussion, the effete dishonesty, adds to the field, flavors the water, tints the color shades the grass, builds the fence and preserves precious bodily fluids. So

I don't think it matters at all if you think of yourself as being honest in the studio. This won't guarantee you make good art

32.

alesh

August 22, 2005, 11:05 PM

Matty~

Lately, my milage has been varying in the direction of crappy $20/bottle Wallgreens Scottish Highland single-malts (it's a little of a miracle that such a thing exists).

I'm glad you brought up Mattise, though, because if he were discoverd to be a serial killer of women, well . . .

I can't think of a better example of something that would cause a canonized body of work to be re-evaluated.

I've been a fan of George Michael's album FAITH since I was a kid. When I found Michael was a homosexual, it didn't change my level of appreciation (actually, it might have increased it), but it did change the nature of the appreciation.

George~

Your photoshop correction techniques are technically imaculate. I find them troublesome for two reasons. The first I'm going to discuss indirectly on my blog in the next couple of days, but the second I can tell you is that the idea that you can get "the right" version of a digital image is a fantasy. I outline my annex to your technically infaliable instructions:

1. as regards the shooting, yes. shoot as well as you possibly can. Photoshop can destroy information to good effect, but only the initial shot can create information.

2. Do the Autocolor. save it as a snapshot. Autocolor is never uninteresting.

3. I usually do a Levels first, then a stupid color ballance. Sometimes I reverse the order. 99% of the time the effect will be equally good as your technique, though I agree that your way is better.

Franklin~

You are essentially saying "your ability to reason is irrelevant to this argument." I ultimately agree with you, and with Hicks. But I'm going to call you on it later, when you try to use the brute force of reaosn to pry out something you don't like. Our milage may vary, but if we're driving the same model car, our driving styles may be subject to comparison.

33.

oldpro

August 22, 2005, 11:08 PM

Alesh, I was interviewed by the Miami Herald a while ago about an dealer up in Palm beach who was selling paintings by Wayne Gacey, the guy who killed all those kids and buried them under his house. He was interested to see what an art professional would say about the paintings.

He showed me reproductions of a few. They were awful, worse than I thought, but I did say that my opinion could possibly have been affected (it was't, actually) because I knew who did them, simply bercause my mind may not have allowed me to make the separation.

The portrait of the multiple child killer in England (not painted by the murderer, however) surrounded by hundreds of children's hand prints, is a case where I felt that the knowledge of the circumstances did not allow me to be objective. The picture was a dud in any event.

Hitler's art, on the other hand, simply looks labored and innocuous, the work of a frustrated, talentless wannabe.

How about Caravaggio?

In none of these cases could I possibly have known the backgrounds had I not been told. They were just bad art, pure and simple. I think if you are in possession of the knowledge of such extreme cases that can indeed interefere with objective judgement.

As a practical matter, however, beyond philosophical speculation, we do not have great art made by truly evil people. If someone uncovers evidence that Matisse is a serial killer we will have to deal with it. But it won't happen.

34.

Matty

August 22, 2005, 11:13 PM

I think you've got a good point in there Polonius, er, I mean George.
I might want to argue that it is not the imposition of your will on art that is the goal, but rather to eliminate a(s much as possible) your individual will from the process of creation (not that I'm an expert at this).

Alesh, the hooch has made you sharp. Good for the brain, bad for the liver.
I was almost going to use the example of a homosexual artist and a hypothetical moral objection to such affecting one's evaluation of the work... I was going to pick Michelangelo though... either way, I don't think it works that way... the work is the work, and if you are judging the work, then that's what counts.

35.

oldpro

August 22, 2005, 11:13 PM

And further, on the Matisse example, I think the "re-evaluation" would tell a lot more about us than about Matisse.

36.

Matty

August 22, 2005, 11:18 PM

Oldpro, I think you make an important point. The morality of the artist should not affect your objective judgement of the art, but it may prevent that objective judgment from taking place.
If we decide that we don't like the work of a murderous Matisse, we are simply not judging the art as art.

37.

Matty

August 22, 2005, 11:19 PM

That may be an honest reaction, of course, just not an objective one.

38.

oldpro

August 22, 2005, 11:20 PM

Oh boy, "honest" vs "objective", a whole new can of worms, just as i was about to hit the sack.

39.

Franklin

August 22, 2005, 11:22 PM

This won't guarantee you make good art

No, but the falsity that Cinque is calling out nearly guarantees that you won't. I hear the frustration in his writing and sympathize with it.

Alesh - I am essentially saying no such thing. Cinque offered a pep rally for artistic sincerity, and to bring in a serial killer to try to derail it is a logical mismatch.

If only artistic and moral excellence correlated! But they don't. Carravaggio stabbed someone to death in the Campo dei Fiori in a disagreement over a tennis match. Good thing several hundred years have elapsed to help put that behind us...

40.

Cinque Hicks

August 22, 2005, 11:33 PM

Sorry, I'm late to the party. Jordan, yes, the list of artists that have had moments of dishonesty includes all those you name. It also includes: Monet, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Gerhard Richter, Cinque Hicks and pretty much every artist that has ever been human.

There is not an impenetrable wall between the Clean and the Unclean, between the honest and the dishonest. There is a spectrum of artists who strive consciously to spend more time at one end of the spectrum than the other. And you know what? Sometimes even with the best of intentions, we fall short. That's called being human. But let's name it when we see it.

Being honest is not a fixed state; it is a constant process of becoming and reaching and searching.

41.

alesh

August 22, 2005, 11:33 PM

Pollock killed a girl much less then several hundred years ago, and unless Ed Burns decieves me, he brears moral responsibility for it.

We can turn the philosophical watertightness on and off whenever you like. It's your blog. But as long as you've got it set to "loose," i'm going to think slightly less of Pollock's splatters.

42.

oldpro

August 22, 2005, 11:34 PM

Not really a logical mismatch, Franklin; perhaps an unrealistic one. The extreme example does serve the purpose of forcing the issue. An extreme case can very well be prejudicial, according to the person making the judgement, but it does not change the basic difference between the character and application of the judgements in question.

The question that is bedeviling Alesh is one of the placement of moral responsibility. All I am saying is that it must be placed on a person, not a thing, no matter how extreme the case.

43.

oldpro

August 22, 2005, 11:36 PM

Suit yourself, Alesh. You can work it out any way you like.

44.

oldpro

August 22, 2005, 11:38 PM

PS Alesh - don't forget, those spatters were made before he killed the girl.

45.

George

August 22, 2005, 11:42 PM

Alesh,
the idea that you can get "the right" version of a digital image is a fantasy

That wasn't my intent. The information I provided to John was a simple technique for balancing out the picture and some tips to make the original photograph better. The topic is extremely complex and technical, volumes have been written on the subject.

I have no problem with sharing whatever I know on the subject and as you indicated it might be a good topic for the blog.

46.

alesh

August 22, 2005, 11:46 PM

I brought up Mozart earlier as an example of someone who created artlwork that we'd consider superlative evem when he was just working for the man. The great thing is that we know, from the historical record, what work W.A.M. really cared about, what he did for the cash, and what he hated. Does the modern listener ignore that information at his peril?

47.

oldpro

August 22, 2005, 11:57 PM

"Does the modern listener ignore that information at his peril?"

Whose peril, ours or Mozart's?

Mozart hated the flute. Listen to the music he composed for it.

48.

George

August 22, 2005, 11:58 PM

This is nonsense.
...the list of artists that have had moments of dishonesty includes all those you name and everyone else in the world. So what?

"Oh well, he's not honest, just sucking up to the wah-wah's" This has been conceptual, or moral, insulation wrapped around any other artist who somehow achieved success. I suppose if one truly desired to achieve sucess, either fame or money, and then acted on this impulse it would make you more honest than someone who slipped a little bit?

What is the point? Exactly where in this discourse is there a path to good art?

49.

Elizabeth

August 23, 2005, 1:54 AM

Why stop at serial killers then?? Modigliani was a monster to his mistress/muse/model and mother of his child, she off'ed herself in the end. To say nothing of what Picasso did to all the women in his life. Do we dissect the lives and morals of all these artists?? Each artist brings something of who they are to their work, whether they like it or not... does it taint the work, No. The work has to stand on its own of course.
OP; your right again about those demented souls like Gacy, a pathetic attempt at being something he wasnt.

50.

Germain

August 23, 2005, 5:57 AM

Don't forget Man Ray's extreme sadism and depravity.
If you read Steve Hodel's "The Black Dahlia Avenger" you will never look at his photos in the same way again.

51.

Franklin

August 23, 2005, 6:49 AM

Exactly where in this discourse is there a path to good art?

Just this: favor sincerity over insincerity. Why is anyone having such a hard time with this?

52.

alesh

August 23, 2005, 7:50 AM

not a problem, really. But Oldpro's "judge the artwork on its own merits, outside factors be damned" and Franklin's "favor sincerity over insincerity" are incompatible. The sincerity is inside the artist, and if you're favoring it, that is something outside the piece of art.

Germain says: If you know particlar facts about Man Ray, "you will never look at his photos in the same way again."

53.

George

August 23, 2005, 7:57 AM

In the world of "eat your vegetables, the're good for you" rules, "be sincere" or "be honest" is good advice. Although I understand what is implied in Cinque's remarks I am not sure that there is a direct link between sincerity and good art.

Is sincerity a quality of good art? If so what does this mean? Or, as I suspect what is intended, good art requires sincerity from the artist? The latter case where the artist is acting sincerely is no guarantee that he will produce good art. A lot of work has been made, with absolute sincerity, that is just awful. No doubt, there is a lot of great work which we would find to be sincere, but sincerity alone is not responsible for its quality. If ones impulse is to make a red painting but you know blue paintings "sell" better and you make the blue painting, in this context it would be consideres insincere. However, this slip of sincerity would not necessarily have any bearing on the quality of the result. Given tha insincere decision to make a blue painting, if one decides just to "knock it out without caring" we could call this insincere. Here we run into the danger od cascading insincerities, which one will trigger ones demise? Sometimes, just "knocking it out", acting with apparent insincerity, will remove the subconscious restraints and produce a breakthrough.

So while I don't disagree with Franklin's favor sincerity over insincerity as good advice I don't see any point in beating myself up if I slip every now and then. I also don't see any point in feeling good just because I think I'm being sincere.

54.

oldpro

August 23, 2005, 8:25 AM

Alesh, I did not say " outside factors be damned". What I did say was "Moral judgement is moral; it applies to people. Esthetic judgement is amoral; it applies to things." There is not the slightest contradiction between what I said and what Franklin said. If you can manage to understand this it will make life easier for you.

Knowing about Man Ray may make you look at his pictures differently or not. That's up to you. I knew his niece years ago and met him once. He seemed like a sweet & accomodating guy and he signed and dated a photo for me, one that I always had liked. That's enough for me.

55.

oldpro

August 23, 2005, 8:36 AM

Here's an excerpt from a review of the "Black Dahlia Avenger" by Steve Hodel. (http://www.curledup.com/blackdah.htm).The reviewer contends that most of the author's claims are BS. This is what is says about what was written about Man Ray:

"Most amusing to me, however, was the author’s contention that George Hodel’s friendship with famous painter Man Ray had something to do with the way that the killer posed Elizabeth Short’s body. I found myself twisting my head sideways trying to see what Steve Hodel says he sees in the reproductions of those paintings. It was like trying to interpret ink blots. “Does that look like a bull to you?” I asked my husband who shrugged and shook his head at my ghoulish approach to art appreciation."

This is not quite enough to throw my appreciation of Man Ray's photos into riot and confusion.

56.

Cinque Hicks

August 23, 2005, 9:39 AM

George:

Although I understand what is implied in Cinque's remarks I am not sure that there is a direct link between sincerity and good art.

If somebody made that claim, it wasn't me.

A lot of work has been made, with absolute sincerity, that is just awful. No doubt, there is a lot of great work which we would find to be sincere, but sincerity alone is not responsible for its quality.

Right. There are lots of factors in making good art: intentionality over use (or nonuse) of craft, relevance, legibility, etc. Honesty is one factor that helps.

So while I don't disagree with Franklin's favor sincerity over insincerity as good advice I don't see any point in beating myself up if I slip every now and then.

Neither do I. That's why I specifically said: "Sometimes even with the best of intentions, we fall short. That's called being human."

I'll say it again: being honest as I use the term is a constant process of becoming, reaching and searching. Often we won't make it. That's ok. I enjoy looking at art by artists who spend more time consciously trying to get there than not.

57.

George

August 23, 2005, 10:20 AM

Cinque, I like the "being human" approach.
I frequently play devils advocate around here just to stir the pot. The question of sincerity or honesty in the practice is a personal one, one knows about this for oneself. Suppositions of sincerity or honesty applied from the outside onto the artists intentions, while potentially real, are still interpretations and suspect. Who can read the mind of another. I also suspect, that most of the time, short of outright deception, everyone believes themselves to be honest, sincere and making good art, even if it is not true.

58.

oldpro

August 23, 2005, 10:36 AM

You like the "being human" approach, George?

Wow. Me too. Not much choice though, is there?

59.

George

August 23, 2005, 10:42 AM

I was just trying to ne nice, er sincere.

60.

Elizabeth

August 23, 2005, 10:48 AM

OP; thats so kewl that u met the Man!! wish I had been there!! OP, exactly how OLd are u??hehe

61.

mek

August 23, 2005, 10:54 AM

cinque: enjoy your work and writings. especially early work. george always stirs the part around these parts and thats why he is integral to the blog. i agree with OP 100%: "Moral judgement is moral; it applies to people. Esthetic judgement is amoral; it applies to things." There have been several famous artists whose work i love, such as jackie winsor for example, but then upon interaction with, are completely ingenuine even if their work seems so endearing. using JW as my example, i was thrilled to have her for an instructor, only to find her personality and demeanor to be purely nasty and difficult. at an early time in my career i had to separate her personal affects from her work and deal with my preconceptions of how in awe of her presence i hoped to be. this hasn't changed how i feel about her work but does make me recognize all fascets of an individual, and traits therein, not just the work they produce. this does not alter how much i like or dislike the work, as it stands alone. this discussion about being honest vs dishonest is great to remind us to be grounded again and address our work properly, but we are all influenced by outside sources that may be interested in marketing us in a certain way and all sorts of factors are at play so it is hard to keep the work pure in intent. i guess i reiterated what everyone has already said, ha.

62.

oldpro

August 23, 2005, 11:05 AM

Elizabeth, I am not going to tell you how old I am. When I met him he was very old and I was very young, let's put it that way.

MEK did you study with Jackie Winsor at SVA? I met her there & found her to be a difficult and unhappy person.

63.

Elizabeth

August 23, 2005, 11:07 AM

sorry OP, I need to behave.
Mek; Im guilty, I sold out....I did 8 of one which became the series of paintings from hell, but I did them cause people kept buying them and I have a kid to raise. Am I proud, NO. Head down in shame....now I need to go into the 'artist protection plan'. If I have any saving grace, I still do /did work Im proud of. Is this all toooo HONEST??

64.

Elizabeth

August 23, 2005, 11:12 AM

OP; u were young???

65.

mek

August 23, 2005, 11:16 AM

yes oldpro, studied with jackie winsor, alice aycock, hanna wilke, marshal arisman, etc etc etc at SVA. i had an excellent education...

66.

mek

August 23, 2005, 11:17 AM

yes JW was DREADFUL but did seem to liven up around the cute male undergrads...

67.

mek

August 23, 2005, 11:25 AM

ps.
hanna wilke was a wonderful person, full of stories(!) about her marriage to clauss oldenberg (sic?), and about her career, etc. Even tho i was her student, there was a circle of us that were very good friends with her. then suddenly she had cancer and within a year was gone, just like her mom. she was truly very very beautiful inside and out with a fantastic sense of humor and fabulous feminist spirit. i miss her... :-(

68.

oldpro

August 23, 2005, 11:33 AM

Claes.

I taught in the new grad program on W 23rd '85 - '89 before moving to Miami, but did not meet the other people you mention.

69.

mek

August 23, 2005, 11:37 AM

i was undergrad (the artists i have mentioned taught undergrad) from 89-92. i did not feel it was necessary to go onto grad program and was sort of taking flight with my work at that point.

70.

Germain

August 23, 2005, 12:26 PM

Oldpro:

That poorly written review you cited that says Hodel 's findings are BS is BS itself.
I recommend that instead of believing that critic ( whose opinion btw is in the minority as far as the reception of Hodel's book goes) you read the actual book before declaiming Man Ray as a sweet old man. It may very well alter your perception of the man, if not his art.

71.

oldpro

August 23, 2005, 12:34 PM

OK, Germain. Having not read the book i will take your word for it.

72.

Matty

August 23, 2005, 12:55 PM

Franklin #51:
Just this: favor sincerity over insincerity. Why is anyone having such a hard time with this?

I think it's because, on the surface, it goes without saying. Honesty is good, dishonesty is bad. No shit. This is a moral lesson that hardly needs a paragraph (even a nicely written one) to explain.

Beneath the surface, it goes back to sincerity =bullshit, in the Harry Frankfurt sense. As George points out, it is very hard for person A to know if person B is being sincere, and as we all know, it can even be hard for person B to know if person B is being sincere.

So, at best, it is true (but trivial), and at worst, it is, well, bullshit.

73.

Franklin

August 23, 2005, 1:32 PM

The sincerity=bullshit equation only goes so far. I got the sense that Frankfurt was talking about bullshit sincerity - a kind of sincerity that was all heart and no head. That makes his equation tautological. I don't think he can make a case that all iterations of sincerity are bullshit.

Re: George in #53 (I am not sure that there is a direct link between sincerity and good art) - there's no direct link between anything and good art. Nevertheless we recognize that certain traits seem to help - discipline, labor, playfulness, intelligence, and yes, sincerity - a shopping list that has nothing to do with genius. Unfortunately, you can't teach or learn genius, so the shopping list is the next best thing. People with enormous talent don't necessarily conform to the shopping list, but often they do - many of them follow their routines with superstitious devotion, for instance. We can say with greater certainty that indiscipline, sloth, boredom, stupidity, and insincerity won't help us make good art. So why not make art for ourselves instead of someone else? That may only make sense at the Eat Your Vegetables level, but you know what? You should eat your vegetables.

74.

Matty

August 23, 2005, 1:48 PM

Franklin, if you read Frankfurt's whole essay you might get a btter handle on what he was getting at. No, of course he was not saying ALL sincerity is bullshit, he was opposing the ideal of Sincerity with the ideal of Correctness. And he was making a point that Sincerety is too slippery to get real hold on, for the person-A person-B reasons I stated above.

If this is just trite moralizing, then fine. Be honest. Eat your vegetables. Honor thy Father and Mother. Good moral lessons. Who can argue? But in that case, the discussion stops with your original "Yep", and we can all leave it at that.

75.

Elizabeth

August 23, 2005, 3:37 PM

OP; I just love teasing u, can we play later??

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